Pixar’s next movie is a medieval flick called Brave, and it happens to be the studio’s very first feature with a female protagonist. The main character in this film is Merida, a fiery-haired Scottish princess who goes into battle armed with her trusty bow and arrow.
Brave looks funny and compelling, and it’s really wonderful that they’re finally giving us a female-led flick, but does she have to be a princess? Does the hero of little girls have to have long hair and wear a dress? In 2009, Linda Holmes wrote a really great essay for an NPR blog called “Dear Pixar, From All the Girls with Band-Aids on Their Knees” in 2009. In it, she asks Pixar to give us a film with a girl who isn’t a princess. She continues:
“Of the ten movies you’ve released so far, ten of them have central characters who are boys or men, or who are anthropomorphized animals or robots or bugs who are voiced by and imagined as boys or men. These movies feature women and girls to varying degrees — The Incredibles, in particular — but the story is never ‘a girl and the things that happen to her,’ the way it’s ‘a boy and what happens to him.’”
So we’re on the right track but not all the way there. Next time, yeah?